VAN BUREN — Lake Hamilton remained one of the elite teams in the 6A-West and in Class 6A with a 60-21 win over Van Buren on Friday.
Lake Hamilton (6-0, 4-0) remained tied atop the conference standings with Greenwood and Pulaski Academy. The three teams are the top three ranked teams in Class 6A.
The Wolves scored on all seven possessions aside from right before the half when Van Buren defensive back Peyton Pschier intercepted a deep pass with 18 seconds left in the first half.
Van Buren (1-4, 1-2), which was celebrating Homecoming festivities, scored on consecutive possessions to tie the game at 14-14 two plays into the second quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run by Jacob Gavelis. The score was set up by Grant King’s recovery of a fumbled pooch kick and ensuing 24-yard pass from junior quarterback Bryce Perkins to senior playmaker Malachi Henry.
Play of the Game
Henry caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Perkins with five seconds left in the first quarter for Henry’s 25th career touchdown reception to break the school record of 24 held by Drew White set from 2008-2010.
“Records are good to reflect on whenever it’s said and done and the season’s over with or your high school career is over with. Those are things you appreciate and have a grateful attitude towards when you reflect on them. It’s good for him, and I’m happy for him, but he’s humbled by it. He would rather have the win than the record,” said Van Buren coach Moe Henry.
Player of the Game
Lake Hamilton senior wingback and defensive back Justin Crutchmer scored six touchdowns, rushing for four scores on runs of 2, 3, 1 and 8 yards, intercepting a pass and returning it 69 yards in the second quarter, and catching a short pass and turning it into a 25-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
“He’s our bell cow, no doubt. He does a lot of things; catches it, runs it, all kinds of things,” Lake Hamilton coach Tommy Gilleran said.
Van Buren senior running back Hudson Cheatham suffered a broken leg in the second quarter and was carted off the field but not before giving a thumbs up to the Van Buren student section. Offensive lineman Sam Shepherd continues to get closer to returning, perhaps in two weeks. Versatile sophomore Trenton Cooley and sophomore running back Cameron Keller missed the Lake Hamilton game due to injuries but will return against Russellville on Friday. Perkins was shaken up late in the game and did not return but will return for Russellville.
The 6A-West race has been narrowed down to Pulaski Academy, Greenwood and Lake Hamilton, the top three ranked teams in the state in Class 6A. … Malachi Henry saw most of his offensive action at receiver on Friday, catching five passes for 46 yards but also played several snaps at running back with four carries for eight yards while also playing significantly at defensive back and returning six kickoffs for 141 yards. … Friday’s game at Russellville will mark the Pointers’ third-straight homecoming game. … King and Pschier had turnovers for Van Buren with King recovering a pooch kick and Pschier intercepting a pass.
Van Buren travels on Friday to Russellville, which will be celebrating Homecoming. Lake Hamilton hosts Greenbrier.